Is it OK to eat fish?
Hey there friend! I’ll bet you do a fair amount of research for your health. I’ve done a little for you to help out. You are not alone if you have been wondering, “What’s the deal with fish? Is it good for us or not?” Doctors tout the claims that salmon is a top healthy food, that fish is lean protein, but you have also heard to avoid all animal meats. Is it just a compassion thing? Do fish feel anything anyways? Where do I get my Omega threes? It would be nice and convenient if fish were safe and healthy, but I’m going to shine a little light. Of course, it is YOUR CHOICE whether or not you will eat it, but you should first have the facts so you can make an informed choice.
It’s a fishy situation, alright. When looking for a diet to achieve optimum health, it takes a lifetime to sift through all of the information out there, and a sleuthing certificate to decide which sources of information are factual. Lucky for you, I have spent over thirty years sifting through it (and counting) and took courses from Cornell on how to get to the bottom of a study and interpret the data without bias, looking at components of validity such as who did the study (who funded it) and what was the sample size and parameters of those being tested. Anyone can do a study to prove what they are trying to prove wether it’s right or not. I won’t bore you with the nerdy stuff, but feel free to hit me up at the email icon above and I’ll go deeper into it.
Many folks out there are clean eating, pescatarians. (A pescatarian is a person who does not eat other meats- but does eat fish.) They are probably confident that they are doing what is best. Here are four things to consider when deciding if fish is right for you.
- Animal Rights
- Environmental Impact
- Omega 3s
Let’s fish for the truth. (I know I’m not funny; but to me, I’m pretty funny.)
The most important factor in eating fish is the levels of toxicity. Everything leads to the ocean. (and rivers and streams and lakes.) Fish bodies are like sponges that build up and concentrate toxins in their bodies. Eating fish is about like eating plastic. We have contaminated our earth to the point where we can do real damage to our health by eating what used to be a clean food. It isn’t anymore. The larger the fish, the more concentrated the contaminants. That is why swordfish is considered so toxic with metals, like mercury- it’s just big. All the other fish have it, too.
I just watched a video this week about teflon that compares how much of the harmful chemicals are actually absorbed through seafood in our diet due to how polluted our water, and the fish within it, have become. We get more toxicity from fish than teflon, and teflon is still not recommended!
So we have plastic, check. And metal, check. Now for the parasites! Fish are filthy with parasites. If you google fish farms and see what you are probably eating, you ever will again. Blech to the nth degree! There is so much infection rampant in fish farming, its honestly super gross.
On to…antibiotics and dyes. These farm raised fish are commonly treated heavily with antibiotics.It not only poisons our food supply, but our waters as well. Particularly victimized with dyes is salmon. If your salmon is farm raised and red in color, it’s full of dye. Only wild salmon have that bright colored flesh from their massive efforts swimming upstream.
But I’m sure your restaurant only serves the deep water, caught in the wild five minutes ago fish that only have the metal and plastics problem. (They don’t, restaurant fish is the ickiest.)
My apologies for ruining food. I just don’t consider animals food, so I don’t feel too bad.
Many people believe that fish are such simple organisms that they do not feel pain. This is untrue. Not only do the fish themselves feel pain, but there is a huge problem with by catch: catching unintended species, such as dolphins, sharks, turtles, and whales in the nets, who are then left to die. Totally not animal friendly! If you must fish, I recommend catch and release. If you are going to eat it, please don’t leave the fish to suffocate in the air. Be merciful. And for the love of god, never boil an animal alive! Lobsters are conscious beings that mate for life.
Problems with the food chain and the balance of the ecosystem aside (which is a HUGE problem from overfishing) I want to discuss commercial fishing practices. Dragging these huge nets across the ocean floor disturbs natural habitat ecosystems to a degree that is far far worse that deforestation on land. We are murdering our underwater land. THE GOOD NEWS? Fisherman around the world are being trained to make more money by switching to eco tourism.
A company that used to charter fishing trips in Mexico is now led by an eco tourism group, and my husband and I took a trip with them out to the deep blue sea, far from land, to swim with whale sharks in their natural habitat along a migration route uninhibited and undisturbed.
This was a responsible group that educated us on ocean ecology and how to interact with the animals (NO TOUCHING!) we were not to wear sunscreen, and everyone left the experience with a greater respect and appreciation for our oceans and the creatures within it. And the former fisherman were making more money than they did fishing. And yes, for us, it was freaking magical. Those guys are HUGE!!!!
You’ll read labels telling you that ONLY fish contain EPA and DHA, which aid in brain health among many other health benefits. You will also hear that Omega 3s are ESSENTIAL fatty acids, because we cannot make them, so they must be ingested in our diets. True and true…ISH.
We have plenty of plant sources that contain ALA. Our bodies Can convert ALA into EPA and DHA, and it’s more useable in our bodies. The best plant sources are flaxmeal, chia seeds, and walnuts. My family eats these everyday.
There have also been studies showing that the positive effects of omega 3s received through eating fish are negated by the harmful acidity created by eating the animal protein, so while the Omegas are beneficial, you have a negative net effect overall. That means that it couses more harm than good.
Quick side note, I have heard some vegetarians claim they raise chickens for the eggs to get their Omega 3s. Chicken eggs do not contain Omega 3s. The egg industry started feeding chickens supplements so that their eggs would have Omegas in them, and then marketed these special eggs as containing Omega 3s. Kind of like how kid sugar breakfast (cereal) is sprayed with a vitamin mix so we think it’s healthy. Stick to seeds and nuts.
I am not here to burst any bubbles, but to educate for the sake of your health. It is only fair that when you decide to eat something, you are aware of its health implications. No one thinks a donut is going to make them skinny or heart healthy, but sometimes, we decide to eat one. If we thought it was the healthiest food and good for us, we would eat them breakfast, lunch and dinner. So it’s only fair that you know about the foods that are claiming to be healthy before you prescribe them as a healthy part of YOUR diet.
Eat, drink, and be healthy! Feel free to hit me up with any questions, this is a broadly stated post, but there are a ton of scientific studies and facts to back it up. If you are interested, I’ll point the way.
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